When you think of exercise, yoga may not be the first thing that comes to mind. While any activity that gets your body moving is beneficial and burns calories, yoga may not seem like an activity that can improve your physical fitness–but it actually can! Read on to learn more about yoga for fitness.
Round out your workout
Neuromotor exercises (those that help improve your motor skills) are required for fitness and are a critical component to a well-rounded exercise routine. Yoga is a perfect example of a neuromotor exercise, as it may help to improve your balance and coordination, which are two important motor skills!
Feel the resistance
Similarly, yoga can satisfy your fitness requirements as a form of resistance or strength exercise. Many yoga poses require that you use your body weight and engage your muscles.
Yoga checks a third box of a requirement for fitness: flexibility. Yoga predominantly focuses on stretching and elongating your body to release tension and expel negative energy. Stretching and engaging your muscles in this manner may improve flexibility over time.
Increase your endurance
Since yoga requires a lot of practice and engages muscles through the various poses you hold, over time it may help increase your endurance (your ability to remain active for a period of time).
Synchronize your exercise
When exercising, it is important that you’re breathing in rhythm to your movements in order to ensure proper blood flow throughout your body. This may help maximize your workout. Since yoga is all about connecting your physical activity to your breathing, you can quickly learn how to synchronize your breathing to your exercise. You can apply this skill to any type of exercise you choose!
Make it what you want it to be
As you progress in your yoga practice, you will find that there are many poses that are challenging, as they require a lot of strength to support your own body weight. Additionally, as you learn more about yoga and/or take a class with a good certified instructor, you can get a decent aerobic workout based on the sequence of poses and the speed at which they’re performed.
Totally new to yoga? Remember, always talk to your doctor before you begin any new exercise!
For Health Advocate members
If you’re a Health Advocate member with access to the wellness coaching component of our Wellness Program, connect with a Wellness Coach to learn more ways to help improve your fitness!